Python in Memory
This following is a simple concept that I was struggling with last week but managed to figure out with the help of some pair programming.
Here’s the setup. I have a few tables in RethinkDB that were ~100 MB each. RethinkDB is a NoSQL database and it stores data in JSON. The bits I specifically needed were nested inside an array. So something like this
To get at the bits I care about, I’d have to iterate through each top level object, get the
other key, then iterate through each element of the array in
other. My initial thought was to do this procedurally.
Read the data without modifications to a variable. Then iterate through each element of the array in the key
other. Then get the bits I need.
Doing this on one table was fine. But I needed to compare the bits_I_need between multiple tables. It consistently was bombing out whenever I tried to do this due to memory constraints. Even when I tried to use iPython’s magic commands to clear memory each time, it kept bombing out.
The solution was, of course, to get the bits_I_need as I’m reading the data into memory. Instead of doing something like this:
which is way too memory intensive and has much more than I need, I could do something like this:
Which runs like a breeze. Even better, since I was comparing between tables, I could wrap this in a function to get exactly what I want:
Then I can just iterate through all the tables I need to compare, call this function with the appropriate tables, and be on my merry way.
Of course, this could be optimized further, but it can also be extended. If I needed to only add to my list after satisfying a certain condition, I could do so. I should also probably use
thing.get('other', ) instead of
thing['other'] because it allows the program to continue even if that key doesn’t exist.
This was a fun little challenge that was solved with the help of a second set of eyes and some insight into what I was actually trying to get accomplish. Instead of getting all the data in case I needed, we took a look at the goal I was trying to achieve and coded it in that manner.